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New Year 2008 Cruise


KeithnRita
"This was our sixteenth cruise and it was outstanding. Unfortunately the cruise was over on Keith's birthday! The Constellation has now become our favorite ship!"

Overall Rating: Excellent

TRIP INFO

Sail Date:12/28/2007
Destination:Caribbean - Eastern
Departed From:Fort Lauderdale, Florida
# of Nights: 9-10 Nights
Cabin Type: Ocean View
Sailed As: Couple

RATINGS

Food:<p>0</p>
Itinerary:Excellent
Cabin:Excellent
Entertainment:Excellent
Overall Value:Very Good
Spa/Fitness: 
Embarkation: Very Good
Debarkation: Very Good
Staff/Service: Excellent
Overall Rating: Excellent

COMPLETE REVIEW

Constellation New Year 2008 ten day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean, Dec 28, 2007 to Jan 7, 2008 - Our sixteenth cruise.<br />Ports of call: San Juan, Puerto Rico - Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas - Bridgetown, Barbados - Castries, St Lucia - Philipsburg, St Maarteen<br /><br />Our trip started at 5:15 AM on Dec 27, 2007 with our trip to the airport. We flew out to Memphis with about and hour and a half layover and then on to FLL. We arrived around 1:30 in the afternoon and after being greeted by RCL staff we were shuttled to the Sheridan Yankee Clipper hotel. The hotel was in a nice location right on the beach, however the carpet in our room was not clean. When we checked out the staff asked us about our stay and I informed of this and they acted like is was no big deal.<br />Rita's son and his new girlfriend arrived shortly after us and after a drink or so at the bar we all went for a walk on the beach. That evening we went to the Oasis on the ocean front for dinner and watched the cruise ships go out from our swinging outdoor table. Rita and I remembered this restaurant from a few years ago, however the food and service has slipped a few notches since then.<br /><br />The next morning we all had breakfast at the hotel and sat around the pool and talked until time for us to get on our shuttle bus to the pier. After our tearful good-byes and our short ride to the pier and another 30 or so minutes getting checked in, we finally were on the ship drinking our welcome aboard champagne. We headed on down to our mid ship port side outside stateroom to drop off our stuff. The stateroom was similar to size and layout of our previous three Celebrity ships. We were very satisfied. The service we received form our room steward for the duration of the cruise lived up to the standard of our previous cruises.<br /><br />On the way to the Seaside Cafe for our first feed we ran into a couple we met last year on the Zenith. Later on in the cruise we met another couple from the Zenith. Sometimes it's a small cruise world out there. The Seaside had the typical buffet fare as well as the pasta grill and the sandwich grill at the rear. That grill is also used for fresh made waffles and pancakes in the mornings. Yum Yum! We visited it most mornings. Our first feed that day was actually at the pasta grill. We had pasta freshly grilled with the ingredients we chose. They had your choice of three different sauces.<br /><br />That evening we went to our assigned table in the San Marco Restaurant late seating. We had a gentleman and his son and daughter from college at our table with two other empty chairs. They informed us they would be opting for casual dining the remainder of the cruise since they only brought casual cloths. The next day we received a letter moving us to a table at the very rear of the dining room next to the captains table.<br />It was a table for eight who only had two the previous night. We ended up dining with this great couple from NC and a couple from the UK, Sir Laurence and Lady Ann. They were all great mates. We also had a lady and her two daughters with us for one evening when our NC couple dined in the Ocean Liners specialty restaurant. Incidentally the Captain must be an early diner since his table was only set and occupied twice for our eleven nights. Both those times his second in command and others were dining. The food in the dining room lived up to our expectations except for the steaks. The ones I had were a little tuff. Our waiter, Cresent and his assistant, Peter gave us great service every night. We come to expect that on our cruises and, so far, have not been disappointed. We did get a strange phone call about midway of our cruise. The Maitre'D from our original table called and asked why we have no been to dinner except the one time. We told him about the table switch that no one informed him about.<br /><br />The Rendez-Vous Lounge became our "hang out" for the duration of the cruise. A four piece band named the Cooler Kings played most nights. Also the party band, Top Secret and a solo guitarist and singer, Charlie Butler, played there. We really enjoyed the music and dancing. We did attend a couple production shows in the Celebrity Theater and they were as good as any we've seen on the high seas. The theme night dance parties were either at the pool side bandstand, outside deck ten, or at the Bar at the Edge of the Earth on deck eleven. They were not well attended, except for New Year Eve on deck ten. It was a wild time! We got to the dance floor at about 11:00 PM and danced almost continuously until 1:00 AM. We have the video to prove it. Since we were in it so much we forked over the $34.95 for the DVD. Afterward we headed to the casino bar to finally sit down and cool off and have a nightcap. Once we finally got to bed we sleep until 10:30 AM.<br /><br />We may have stumbled onto the best entertainer on the high seas, Perry Grant. He plays the piano and sings in Michael's Club. Actually he does more than that, you just have to be there to find out. He packs the place every night and finding a place to sit is a challenge. We usually went in around a quarter to midnight and were able to find chairs and room on the small dance floor area in front of his piano to dance the fox-trot. He played until 12:30. We understand they would like to move him to a larger venue, however he will only play at Michael's. We met folks that have been on the Constellation multiple times just to see him perform. We would rate his singing and piano skills, and his banter with the crowd as A+++!<br /><br />One thing we really enjoyed about this ship is the adults only indoor Thelassotherapy Pool. It's just a very large, or should we say big ass hot tub. We went there three or four times. It was very relaxing. It also had a low cal breakfast and lunch buffet, however we did not indulge. We also enjoy the deep swimming pool for stroking a few laps. Don't get to do that in the dead of winter in Indiana. The other outdoor pool was great for families with children. We found a nice hangout on deck eleven to get our winter tan.<br /><br />The decor of the Constellation is probably the most appealing of all the ships we've been on. The art, like most ships we've be on, was very interesting and the holiday decorations added to the ambiance. This is a ship we would like to cruise on again.<br /><br />We did visit two new ports for us, Bridgetown, Barbados and Castries, St Lucia. Both are very beautiful islands, however we would give St Lucia higher marks. We did not book any tours. In Bridgetown we took a taxi to the town area. We encountered quite a number of street beggars. In Castries we walked to the straw market and to a shopping area and stopped at a little cafe and I had a local beer.<br />In San Juan our port time was 2:00 to 8:00 PM so we just stayed on the ship. We did some shopping in St Thomas, however we saved our shopping spree for our last port of call, St Maarten, our favorite shopping island. We bought something for my three daughters, the two son-in-laws, and all the grand kids. What I like about shopping there, besides the great prices, is the dollar beers while shopping. The walkway on the beach on both sides is now complete so we just made a left turn and walked all the way to the end and then cut over to the shopping street. On this walk it was a nice sunny day and the topless sunbathers were in abundance. Once we got about half way I took a photo of the ship. When we looked at it later, low and behold was a small pair of "twin peaks" in the photo!<br /><br />The only negative of the cruise, and it was a terrible tragedy, happened at St Maarten. We were the only cruise ship in port that day and a 43 year old woman from our ship passed away while scuba diving. We were told she had a panic attack while under water and shortly after they brought her up she went into cardiac arrest and they were unable to revive her. Her husband returned to the ship and it had to be an agonizing two full days at sea before arriving at Port Everglades. We were also told the body was brought back aboard ship, however we don't know if that was true or not.<br /><br />All and all we would rate this cruise and one of our best yet. We met a great number of folks including the retired Scottish standup comedian/actor, Alex "Happy" Howden and his lovely wife. His last movie role was a bit part as the hangman in Gangs of New York. <br />He even said his lines for us one evening.<br />This was our fifth New Year cruise in a row and we will probably go for number six for 2009. Could even be a repeat on this ship.

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